Sanofi's vaccines pump up Q3 growth while other units trickle along


Sanofi's vaccines continue to be a spot of sunshine in the French drugmaker's overall cloudy picture. In the third quarter, Sanofi Pasteur grew sales 14% over last year, besting all other units but the company’s rare-disease group, Genzyme.

To notch the sales win, Sanofi Pasteur can thank early flu shipments to the U.S., execs said on a call with analysts, a tactic that rival GlaxoSmithKline cited in its own results for the period. Sanofi's influenza vaccines were up 35% on the quarter to €989 million ($1.1 billion).

And that was a good thing for Sanofi, because uptake for Dengvaxia, its first-of-a-kind dengue fever vaccine, “remains behind our initial expectations,” CEO Olivier Brandicourt said. The new vaccine--a result of 20 years and $1.5 billion in R&D efforts--booked €30 million on the quarter to bring its total for the year to €50 million. Execs had initially guided €200 million for the year.

“Given recent political changes and economic volatility in emerging markets, the number of doses to be shipped in emerging markets, the number of doses to be shipped in Q4 is expected to be lower,” Brandicourt said.

Around the company, Sanofi’s vaccine growth fell short only to Genzyme, which increased sales by 17%. Diabetes and cardiovascular fell 2.5%, and general medicines and emerging markets fell 2.4%. Animal health posted a slight increase at 4% over last year’s third quarter.

Among leading vaccines players, Sanofi’s vaccine sales increase of 14% came short of the 27% increase posted by Merck and 20% by GSK in the period. But it eclipses Pfizer’s vaccines growth of 1% in Q3.

Earlier this year, following strong Q1 results for the company’s vaccines unit, Brandicourt said the business “continues to deliver” as the pharma deals with lagging sales in other areas. Sanofi plans to split up its European vaccines joint venture with Merck, with that process expected to complete “in the coming months,” according to Brandicourt.

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